February 2002

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Conclusions

We reluctantly checked out of the very pleasant Guanabara Palace Hotel on the Sunday morning, and got reception to phone us a taxi this time - I was expecting taxis to be more expensive on Sundays anyway, and the one that arrived cost us 10R$.

A full log for the morning at SDU ....

Sun 3/2/02 Rio de Janeiro-Santos Dumont SDU/SBRJ (0930-1250)

GOL Transportes Aereos PR-GOB 737-75B 28099 13
GOL Transportes Aereos PR-GOE 737-75B 28106 68
Rio Sul PT-SLW 737-53A 24922 1964
Rio Sul PT-SPD ERJ.145ER 028
Rio Sul PT-SPF ERJ.145ER 034
Rio Sul PT-SPP ERJ.145ER 350
Rio Sul PT-SSG 737-5Q8 28055 3024
TAM Brasil PT-MZE A.319-132 1103
TAM Brasil PT-MZF A.319-132 1139
TAM Brasil PT-WHK F.100 11452
TAM Brasil PT-WHL F.100 11471
VARIG PP-VPR 737-36Q 28761 3011
VARIG PP-VPU 737-36N 28567 2971
VARIG PP-VPY 737-33R 28871 2900
VARIG PP-VPZ 737-3S3 29245 3061
VASP PP-SOU 737-3L9 25360 2140

PT-LSJ Learjet 35A 181
PT-WUM Citation X 0092

Click for a closer look

No 'new' airliners, so our pre-booked TAM flight to Sao Paulo at mid-day couldn't come soon enough. Check-in actually offered us a seat on the earlier flight to Congonhas, but we declined, with the already planned afternoon in mind. As it happened A.319 PT-MZE was late inbound, and we settled into our window seats on the right-hand side of the aeroplane - a late push-back, compensated for however by the sight of a 'slicer' taxi-ing in to the right of us, one of the target Citation X frames of the year for me, one of the two Brazillian aircraft PT-WUM - am I glad the flight was late !.

I had booked the internal flight in England before setting off for Brazil - although the TAM web-site is very impressive, you can't book on-line without a credit card issued in Brazil (a fact which unfortunately you don't realise until the very last stage of the on-line booking process) - instead a quick call to the TAM booking office in London had the reservations secured, and the tickets came through the post just a few days later. The flight cost about 60 each, but was extremely interesting - a great climb-out from SDU on runway 02R, a climbing right-turn immediately after departure, followed by a turn to the west with a great view (unfortunately under cloudy skies) of Rio de Janeiro below. Only a 47 minute sector but a hot meal was served and my first flight in an A.319 was extremely enjoyable.

Approaching Sau Paulo-Congonhas Airport we began to get an idea of the vastness of the city. With a population in the double-figure millions, it seemed to go on for ever - a fascinating approach over what seemed a much more westernised city, quite unlike the traditional look of Rio, and soon we were 'coming over the numbers' at the downtown Congonhas Airport, and getting our first look just on the right-hand side of our home for the next three days, the Golden Flats Hotel.

As the aircraft rolled down runway 17R we passed the full parking stands (again a moment reminiscent of our trip to Japan when we landed at Nagoya after our first day in the counrty at Narita - this is 'real' 'domestic' Brazil we thought), and a pair of stored Transbrasil Boeing 737-300s, one of which became my 3,000th 737 ever - unfortunately I can't remember which one I saw first, or indeed if the line of aircraft on the terminal stands we had just 'flashed' past held a new 737 for me !.

Then came a moment that was to have a significant effect on the remainder of our time in Brazil, our first sight of at least three full biz hangars at the south end of the field, off to the right-hand side of the aeroplane. Of course we had been sitting on the right-hand side of the aeroplane and as the A.319 turned off the runway to taxi back to the terminal, those on the left would have had a superb view of approximately sixty biz-jets (at least), if indeed they were interested !. We managed a few, including the other Brazillian Citation X PP-JQM - my two target biz frames had been seen whilst sitting in the same seat !. Moral of the story - if you're going into Congonhas expect a 17R arrival and ask for a left-hand window seat.

Finally onto stand and the unusual un-escorted walk along almost the entire length of the Congonhas ramp to the arrivals hall (although sadly we didn't get ice creams when we got off !), and after collecting baggage were met as expected by Sao Paulo resident Luiz - quite a thing to get off a domestic aeroplane in Sao Paulo and have somebody waiting for you with a sign with your name on - thanks Luiz !. Luiz kindly gave us a lift to the revered Golden Flats Hotel which we had seen on the final approach, and came up to our room for a little while to check the view - and what a view. The hotel had been booked on-line ( and they had recommended room 916 to us as the one with the best views of the airport. Their selection couldn't have been faulted, with unrestricted views of the holding point to runways 17R/L, the full length of both runways themselves, and the hangar area to the west of the runways, but with an unfortunately slightly restricted view of the terminal parking stands, obviously a recently erected VARIG MD-11 billboard on the roof of the adjacent building blocking, but not irrevocably, part of the view. In fact you couldn't go wrong with any of the rooms on that side of the building, as long as you have a high floor (the top floor is the 10th). As the room faces east, photography gets better early afternoon, and by late afternoon is absolutely perfect for the sun.

Click for a closer look
Click for a closer look

Seen in a frenzy of logging/photography that afternoon were ......

Sun 3/2/02 Sao Paulo-Congonhas CGH/SBSP (1400-1915)

(Interbrasil Star) PP-ISB Emb.120 232
(Interbrasil Star) PP-ISE Emb.120RT 246
(Transbrasil) PT-TEU 737-3K9 23797 1416
(Transbrasil) PT-TEV 737-3K9 23798 1429
GOL Transportes Aereos PR-GOA 737-7L9 28005 11
GOL Transportes Aereos PR-GOC 737-75B 28101 17
GOL Transportes Aereos PR-GOD 737-75B 28105 66
GOL Transportes Aereos PR-GOE 737-75B 28106 68
GOL Transportes Aereos PR-GOG 737-76Q 30275 900
GOL Transportes Aereos PR-GOH 737-76N 32440 954
GOL Transportes Aereos PR-GOI 737-76N 32574 983
Pantanal Linhas Aereas PT-MFJ 42-320 343
Pantanal Linhas Aereas PT-MFX 42-310 329
Rio Sul PR-SAA 737-76Q 30277 947
Rio Sul PT-SLN 737-5Y0 26075 2374
Rio Sul PT-SLU 737-5Y0 25186 2236
Rio Sul PT-SPC ERJ.145ER 027
Rio Sul PT-SPL ERJ.145ER 090
Rio Sul PT-SPM ERJ.145ER 114
Rio Sul PT-SPN ERJ.145ER 127
Rio Sul PT-SPO ERJ.145ER 137
Rio Sul PT-SRD Emb.120ER 315
Rio Sul PT-SRE Emb.120ER 324
Rio Sul PT-SSA 737-5Y0 25192 2262
Rio Sul PT-SSB 737-5Q8 27629 2834
Rio Sul PT-SSC 737-5Q8 27634 2889
Rio Sul PT-SSD 737-56N 28565 2944
Rio Sul PT-SSE 737-5Q8 28052 2965
Rio Sul PT-SSF 737-5Q8 28201 2999
Rio Sul PT-SSG 737-5Q8 28055 3024
Rio Sul PT-SSH 737-58E 29122 2991
Rio Sul PT-SSJ 737-33A 24791 1984
Rio Sul PT-SSK 737-3Y0 23922 1538
Rio Sul PT-SSL 737-5Y0 25185 2220
Rio Sul PT-SSO 737-53A 24921 1962
TAM Brasil PR-MAA A.320-233 1595
TAM Brasil PT-MQA F.100 11296
TAM Brasil PT-MQB F.100 11350
TAM Brasil PT-MQC F.100 11371
TAM Brasil PT-MQH F.100 11512
TAM Brasil PT-MQJ F.100 11347
TAM Brasil PT-MQN F.100 11409
TAM Brasil PT-MRA F.100 11284
TAM Brasil PT-MRB F.100 11285
TAM Brasil PT-MRC F.100 11320
TAM Brasil PT-MRD F.100 11322
TAM Brasil PT-MRG F.100 11304
TAM Brasil PT-MRI F.100 11442
TAM Brasil PT-MRJ F.100 11451
TAM Brasil PT-MRS F.100 11462
TAM Brasil PT-MRV F.100 11516
TAM Brasil PT-MRW F.100 11518
TAM Brasil PT-MRX F.100 11341
TAM Brasil PT-MRZ F.100 11290
TAM Brasil PT-MZA A.319-132 0976
TAM Brasil PT-MZC A.319-132 1092
TAM Brasil PT-MZD A.319-132 1096
TAM Brasil PT-MZE A.319-132 1103
TAM Brasil PT-MZF A.319-132 1139
TAM Brasil PT-MZH A.320-232 1158
TAM Brasil PT-MZK A.320-232 1368
TAM Brasil PT-MZL A.320-232 1376
TAM Brasil PT-MZM A.320-232 0453
TAM Brasil PT-MZO A.320-231 0250
TAM Brasil PT-MZR A.320-231 0334
TAM Brasil PT-MZV A.320-232 0758
TAM Brasil PT-MZZ A.320-232 1593
VARIG PP-VPR 737-36Q 28761 3011
VARIG PP-VPU 737-36N 28567 2971
VARIG PP-VPY 737-33R 28871 2900
VARIG PP-VPZ 737-3S3 29245 3061
VARIG PP-VQN 737-33A 24098 1763
VASP PP-SFJ 737-3K9 24212 1633
VASP PP-SOU 737-3L9 25360 2140
VASP PP-SPG 737-2L9 22070 614

PP-CRS CitationJet 0346
PP-JGV Citation Excel 5105
PP-JQM Citation X 0056
PR-JET CitationJet/CJ2 0042
PR-VGD CitationJet 0120
PT-AAF Falcon 50 234
PT-LDH Citation I 0049
PT-LME Citation II 0023
PT-LQR Citation I 0246
PT-LZQ Citation V 0045
PT-MAC Beech 400A RK-151
PT-MMV Citation Bravo 0811
PT-MSP CitationJet 0259
PT-OAG Citation II 0357
PT-PRR CitationJet CJ1 0403
PT-WBY Citation I 0008
PT-WHE Beech 400A RK-081
PT-WPF Hawker 800XP 258409
PT-WSB Learjet 31A 135
PT-WVG Hawker 800XP 258395
PT-WVH Citation V 0409

All those PT- biz down the other end of the airfield were still preying on our minds, but those listed above made up slightly. I made 36 new airliners during the afternoon, and activity is almost constant -we had been told that CGH was the busiest airport in Brazil, and this is clearly the case; there is rarely a time when there is nothing happening.

Our last GOL 737 was seen, we were pleasantly surprised at the number of TAM A.320 movements, the noisy Fokker 100s became a little wearing after a while however, the noise flooding through the room's windows, that incidentally open out fully, and some old 'friends' from SDU (the 4 VARIG 737-300s, 4 VASP 737-300s, and TAM A.319s - still without 'B' however) came and went with alarming regularity.

The telephone rang at 1900L and it was Luiz in the foyer to take us out for the evening, off into one part of the huge city, and an 'all-you-can-eat pizza marathon' with 80% of the spotting population of Sao Paulo, including Luiz, the famous Renato Salzinger, and three other extremely friendly and enthusiastic spotters. A little word on eating pizza in Brazil, at least in this restaurant - there is a small cylindrical wooden block in the middle of the table, one end painted green the other red. If you turn this block so that green is at the top, the waiters literally keep bringing slices of pizza, of various flavours, until either you burst, drop, or turn the little wooden block so that red faces up !!. A brilliant night was had, discussing all sorts of aviation-related subjects, our hosts enthusiastically extolling the virtues of their home town, country, and home aircraft manufacturer Embraer - we couldn't argue - and during which various presents were exchanged (slides/aircraft models/Air NORTH magazines ! etc.). I finished off with a slice of chocolate pizza (which was very nice) and a slice of banana pizza (which was nice if not a little sickly), and our hosts refused our offers to share the paying of the bill. If you're reading this guys, thanks for a brilliant night !.

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Conclusions

Copyright on all text and images within this web site remains with A.Hutchings (2006).